09.13.18

Google Dragonfly links phone numbers to search results

Google isn't doing a very good job of not being evil at the moment. That's mainly due to the revelation back in August it was developing a censored search engine for China called Dragonfly. But it turns out Dragonfly isn't just censored, it makes tracking individuals much easier for the Chinese government. Dragonfly is just a prototype at the moment, but one that has caused ethical concerns, employee protests, and even one of Google's senior research scientists to resign. If launched, it would adopt the Chinese government's censorship rules and remove search results that used terms deemed unfit for public consumption. It doesn't stop there, though. As The Intercept reports, Dragonfly is thought to go a step further than just censoring search results. Anyone in China using Dragonfly will have their personal phone number linked to the search. In theory, that means if a blacklisted word is searched for, Dragonfly would have a record not only of the search, but the phone used to make it. The Chinese authorities could then choose to follow up or actively monitor the individual more closely if they so wished.